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Posted on: January 2, 2020

How Businesses Find Their Way to Blaine

exterior of a Hy-Vee store

Selecting a location is one of the most important decisions any business will make. Depending on the type of business, different factors are considered. For example, a retail business often considers area demographics that include household income and population within certain distances, along with access and visibility to major roadways. A manufacturer may consider a location based on the distance to where their employees live, availability of workforce, and how real estate taxes compare to other locations. In Blaine there are typically three pathways to how a business will locate in the city.

City Outreach

There are certain sectors the city has identified as a need in the community, based on resident input and data analysis. For example, the City of Blaine reached out to several grocers that are not currently located in the city such as Whole Foods, Lund’s, and Trader Joe’s. These businesses are aware of the positive growth in Blaine. However, based on their location criteria they decided not to build in Blaine yet. The growing population and household incomes that occur with new housing are factors these businesses take into account and Blaine may eventually be attractive to them. Hy-Vee is a successful example of where the city and business worked together to find a location in the city that is attractive to them. The city has also reached out to hospitality and entertainment businesses that would benefit residents and guests that visit Blaine.

Real Estate Broker/Business Contact

Businesses quite often hire a real estate broker to help them identify potential locations. City staff is in constant communication with the real estate brokers with clients looking to locate in the community. Staff provides real estate brokers with information on available buildings and sites. Often these are industrial users relocating from another city. In certain instances the city may consider financial incentives to help a business redevelop a site and invest in the community or to convince them to select Blaine over another community. The City of Blaine Economic Development Authority also acquires blighted property in an effort to encourage redevelopment and investment by businesses looking to locate in Blaine.

Market Driven Decisions

Many national businesses in all sectors have real estate professionals that assist them in finding locations. These professionals have access to data and real estate listings to assist them. In this instance the city often is not made aware that a business has made a decision to locate in Blaine until they contact city staff to either obtain a building permit or receive development approvals. Recent examples include, Planet Fitness, Harbor Freight, Taco Bell, and Aldi. Market conditions outside of the control of the city often dictate retail, hospitality, and service business decisions. What the city can continue to do is make Blaine attractive to businesses by providing efficient review processes, low taxes, quality infrastructure, and housing for their employees.

Does the city have the ability to say yes or no to any business?

No. The city has various zoning districts that identify permitted and conditionally permitted uses. If a permitted use desires to go into a certain space the city does not have the legal authority to say no. In fact, a permitted use does not require review by the Blaine City Council and is allowed to go in via administrative approval. In other instances a use may have to acquire a conditional use permit and approval is then required by the Blaine City Council. However, a conditional use permit is not a mechanism to approve or deny a business, but instead place conditions on a business to reduce its impact on nearby property. The only time the city has the authority to say yes or no to a business is if the use is not allowed in the specific zoning district, the city is selling land, or the use requires a rezoning.

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